In his Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, President Biden identified the prevention, detection, assessment and remediation of cyber incidents as a top priority of his Administration. The Commerce Department and NTIA were directed by the EO to publish the minimum elements for a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), a key tool to help create a more transparent and secure software supply chain. As the President notes, “the trust we place in our digital infrastructure should be proportional to how trustworthy and transparent that infrastructure is.”
An SBOM provides those who produce, purchase, and operate software with information that enhances their understanding of the supply chain. Though an SBOM won’t solve all software security problems, it offers the potential to track known newly emerged vulnerabilities and risks, and it can form a foundational data layer on which further security tools, practices, and assurances can be built.